The Comptroller General of Customs Strike Force team, Zone ‘A’ says it has so far seized contraband goods worth N8.5billion and recovered the sum of N5billion as underpayments since it began its clampdown on smugglers and duty evaders in the import clearance process in 2022.
Coordinator of the Strike Force team, Muhammed Sani Yusuf, who disclosed this in Lagos on Wednesday, said the recovery was made through issuance of demand notice to fraudulent importers.
He said, “It would interest you to know that since our resumption till date, we have cumulatively generated ₦5,254,784,650 when compared with last year’s revenue of N3,588,016,694 with difference of ₦1,666,767,956 representing 32 percent increment through demand Notice, underpayment and wrong classification.
“We have also made a good numbers of seizures with a total DPV of eight billion five hundred million, nine and three thousand six seventy-three naira ₦8,500,903,673.00.”
Briefing journalists on the unit’s activities for the month of October and November, Yusuf said his operatives intercepted 1010 bags of 50kg of foreign parboiled rice, 376.4kg of pangolin scales, 100 cartons of red wine, 40 kg of Indian Hemp, 58 bales of used clothing and 35 unit/25 litres of jerry cans containing PMS with a Duty Paid Value of over N1billion.
He added that the sum of N537.9 million was also collected following issuance of demand notices to defaulters.
Yusuf said two suspects arrested in connection with some Customs offences during the period under review have been released on administrative bail.
“In our quest to safeguard our country from the selfish activities of economic saboteurs, collect revenue for the federal government, and to provide security, we have remained resolute and undeterred at enforcing government’s policies and Customs extant laws. In tandem with the support provided by the management of the Service under the leadership of Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali CFR (Rtd), our strategies are reviewed to defeat smugglers game of concealment, false declaration, underpayment etc during the yuletide period.
“Seizures displayed are a reflection of officers’ commitment to duty, and none compromise posture in the discharge of our statutory responsibilities aimed at protecting the national economy and preventing the importation of prohibited, and harmful goods,” he said.
Speaking on the smuggling of pangolin scales, Yusuf reiterated that the ban imposed on international trade of pangolins and their parts in the 2016 convention held in Flora South Africa is still in force.
“Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) some species of animals are conserved from going into extinction, hence, pangolin among other animals have been subject to exploitation which has continued till date but little are known about their natural history, status that must be conserved. Campaigns and sensitization on the poaching of pangolins must be intensified since it plays a dominant role on the ecosystem thereby protecting the forest from termites and other insect destructions.
“As we intensify our efforts to continually seize smuggled items, and arrest suspected perpetrators, it is our hope that these seizures, revenue recoveries, and arrests would serve as deterrent to would be smugglers and duty evaders,” he said.